Saturday’s historic Nevada State Prison tour sold out |

Saturday’s historic Nevada State Prison tour sold out

Saturday’s first public tour of the historic Nevada State Prison is sold out.

The tour is being hosted by the leadership class of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce as a fundraiser.

But Executive Director Ronni Hannaman said the event, capped at about 300 people, sold out shortly after it was announced.

“We’ve been sold out for two weeks,” she said.

Unfortunately, she said, demand has continued with people calling every day asking if they can get in.

She said they could only take about 300 on this initial tour but that there will be other opportunities to see the inside of the prison this summer.

“We don’t want unhappy people,” she said adding that, obviously, there’s a lot of interest.

She said the Nevada State Prison Preservation Society is planning to offer tours up to three days a week this summer. Those tours, like the tour Saturday, will be conducted primarily by former guards and others who worked at NSP and can share personal anecdotes that bring the prison to life.

“This just shows again from a marketing strategy that there’s a lot of pent up demand to see this prison,” Hannaman said. “We’ve got a hit on our hands as relates to having another reason for people to come to Carson City.”

The money collected for this initial tour, about $3,000, will go to the chamber’s leadership class to pay for the mobile museum project.

Former Director of Corrections Glen Whorton, head of the preservation society, said they are still training people to give the tours but are getting good volunteers interested in being guides.

NSP opened in 1862, two years before Nevada became a state, and operated until January 2012. Parts of the prison are as much as 100 years old. Just their appearance, he said, gives people an idea what it was like to be incarcerated there.

The tour will feature the old prison yard, historic Cell Block A and some unique things such as the “Bull Pen” — the casino that operated at NSP for years.

Off limits at this point is the old gas chamber, which is still listed as the state’s execution chamber until a new one is completed at Ely State Prison.

NSP also is drawing some interest from Hollywood as a potential movie set.